Homel journalists for Radio “Racyja” issued with formal warnings
Lawyer of the Belarusian Association of Journalists Leanid Sudalenka, who represented the interests of Mikalai Bianko and Yuliya Sivets, considers it necessary to appeal the warning of the Homel Regional Prosecutor's Office.
The journalists are warned about the inadmissibility of unlawful journalist activities in the region. The Prosecutor's Office presented as evidence the materials which were published at the website of the Belarusian Radio “Racyja”.
Their interests were represented by a lawyer of the Belarusian Association of Journalists. At first, senior assistant prosecutor Dzmitry Deboi refused to let the lawyer into the office and agreed to it only after they refused to talk with him without it.
Mikalai Bianko considers the warning to be a political order: “We have received copies of the warning from the Homel Regional Prosecutor's Office, signed by Deputy Prosecutor Sushchynski. We refused to give any explanations referring to Article 27 of the Constitution, which guarantees the right not to testify against oneself, one's friends and relatives. If several journalists working for Radio “Racyja” are summoned to the Prosecutor's Office and issued with warnings, it means that our activities are not vain, that the authorities are getting nervous and we implement our duties irrespective of any obstacles.”
According to Yuliya Sivets, the prosecutor's office used as evidence some of the publications on the website of Radio “Racyja”: “The publications where they found alleged law violations include the detailed report "Forgotten Chernobyl", the information for which was collected for three years, including problems of the liquidators of the consequences of the Chernobyl accident, and the problems of Chernobyl villages in the Homel region. Another publication, which must have been added not to issue the warning for one publication, is the report about the traditional festivities on Christmas in Homel.”
Some violations were also discovered in the blogs at the website of Radio “Racyja”. According to the prosecutor's office, Radio “Racyja” is a foreign mass media, that's why activities without accreditation are banned in Belarus.